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Equities open with N76b gain amid bargain hunting

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Nigerian equities reopened on Monday with a strong bargain-hunting as investors appeared to be rebuilding portfolios ahead of the expected Santa Claus rally. Average return during the trading session stood at 0.55 per cent, equivalent tto net capital gains of N76 billion.

The All Share Index (ASI)- the benchmark index for the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), rose from its opening index of 26,536.21 points to close at 26,695.18 points. With more than two advancers against every decliner, aggregate market value off all quoted equities rose from its opening value of N12.808 trillion to close at N12.889 trillion.

The rally moderated the negative returns at the stock market, with the month-to-date and year-to-date return improving to -1.14 per cent and -15.07 per cent respectively.

All sectoral indices also closed on the upside, underlining the widespread bargain hunting that ran through trading yesterday. The NSE Banking Index appreciated by 1.64 per cent. The NSE Industrial Goods Index rose by 0.95 per cent.

The NSE Insurance Index rose by 0.31 per cent while the NSE Oil & Gas Index inched up by 0.09 per cent.

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There were 17 gainers against eight losers. Guinness Nigeria recorded the highest price gain, in percentage terms, rising by 9.83 per cent, to close at N32.40. PZ Cussons Nigeria followed with a gain of 9.52 per cent to close at N5.75. AG Leventis appreciated by 7.69 per cent to close at 42 kobo. United Bank for Africa (UBA) rose by 6.06 per cent to close at N7.00 while Access Bank chalked up 4.26 per cent  to close at N9.80 per share.

On the negative side, Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals and Cornerstone Insurance led the losers with a drop of 9.09 per cent each to close at 60 kobo each. University Press followed with a loss of 8.33 per cent to close at N1.21. FBN Holdings and Royal Exchange declined by 3.85 per cent each to close at N6.25 and 25 kobo respectively. UAC of Nigeria dropped by 1.69 per cent to N8.75 per share while FCMB Group declined by 1.67 per cent to close at N1.77 per share.

Total turnover also improved slightly by 9.77 per cent to 170.52 million shares worth N2.05 billion in 2,700 deals. Access Bank was the most active stock with 41.16 million shares valued at N396.95 million. UBA followed with 29.24 million shares worth N201.96 million. Zenith Bank placed third with 25.59 million shares valued at N479.81 million. Guaranty Trust Bank recorded 11.32 million shares valued at N332.86 billion while Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) placed fifth with 10.05 million shares worth N9.88 million.

Analysts at Afrinvest Limited said they expected the bullish performance to be sustained in the subsequent session, although the outlook for the market in the near term remains bearish.

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